If you could consume 20-29% fewer calories by making a simple decision, would you do it? A team of researchers at Cornell University have found a way to do just that. In a study led by Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand lab and the author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, it was determined that people ate 20% less calories and as much as 29% fewer calories were consumed by men if the serving dishes were kept in the kitchen as opposed to being on the table.
They said the same could be said for using this principle to encourage healthy eating. If you have fresh fruits and vegetables in a visible, easy to reach location it will encourage more eating of those types of foods; versus hunting down the more fattening snacks that are hidden away.
Wansink’s book is filled with reasons why people mindlessly overeat, and it isn’t because we are hungry. Our food consumption is affected by our family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers according to the information on the website for the book.
With the average person making over 250 decisions daily about food, you can see how small decisions can lead to big calorie consumption. Most of our food decisions are not even conscious ones.
Articles by Wansink say that people eat larger amounts of foods like buttered popcorn and M&M’s when they are sad. Happy people tend to eat larger amounts of a less hedonic product like raisins when they are happy. Most of us are familiar with emotional eating and can certainly relate to this. Basically, the happier you are the better you will eat.
Another article Wansink helped author details how portion size will cause people to eat more even when foods are not as appetizing. So, the next time you visit your local fast food restaurant or movie theater; take note of the sizes you are receiving. The largest size drinks available often contain more soda than I can remember drinking all week 30-35 years ago. Small drinks are often as big as a large of eras past. Those humongous size fries and extremely big sandwiches are pretty much standard at all fast food establishments now.
Downsizing your dinner plate from 12 inches to a 10 inch plate leads people to serve and eat 22% less according to Wansink, also. If you serve it to yourself, you are likely to eat an average of 92% of the food. Why not make the decision to go smaller all around?
You can learn more about the website for the book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.
Mindless Eating Website
Press Release – New Study: The Kitchen Counter Diet
Brian Wansink’s Website
Wikipedia – Brian Wansink